Brookhaven Lecture

"412th Brookhaven Lecture: 'Advanced Neutron Detection Methods: New Tools for Countering Nuclear Terrorism'"

Presented by Peter Vanier, NNS

Wednesday, February 15, 2006, 4:00 pm — Berkner Hall Auditorium

Acts of terrorism have become almost daily occurrences in the international news. Yet one of the most feared types of terrorism � nuclear terrorism � has not yet happened. One important way of preventing nuclear terrorism is to safeguard nuclear materials, and many people worldwide work continuously to achieve that goal. A second, vital defense is being developed: greatly improved methods of detecting material that a nuclear terrorist would need so that timely discovery of the material could become more probable. Special nuclear materials can emit neutrons, either spontaneously or when excited by a source of high-energy gamma rays, such as an electron accelerator. Traditional neutron detectors can sense these neutrons, but not the direction from which the neutrons come, or their energy. The odds against finding smuggled nuclear materials using conventional detectors are great. However, innovative designs of detectors are producing images that show the locations and even the shapes of man-made neutron sources, which stand out against the uniform background produced by cosmic rays. With the new detectors, finding needles in haystacks � or smuggled nuclear materials in a huge container among thousands of others in a busy port � suddenly becomes possible. To learn about these new detectors from a specialist who has spent several years developing these technologies, all are invited to attend the 412th Brookhaven Lecture, �Advanced Neutron Detection Methods: New Tools for Countering Nuclear Terrorism,� to be given by Peter Vanier of the Nonproliferation & National Security Department (NNS). The lecture will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, February 15, in Berkner Hall, and Vanier will be introduced by NNS Chair Joseph Indusi. Vanier will discuss how, with BNL�s Instrumentation Division and other colleagues from the Lab, other national laboratories, and elsewhere, the capabilities of these new detectors are now being t

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